Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Nation's dwindling Greek population sees many churches abandoned, or retooled for Islam

Turkey has many historical and culturally significant Christian churches. However, the dwindling Greek population in Turkey has forced the closure of many of these churches - and now the government here is considering turning these structures into mosques.

The Stoudios monastery was at one time a pre-eminent Christian site. The Greek community is dismayed to hear that the government plans to restore it as a mosque.

The Stoudios monastery was at one time a pre-eminent Christian site. The Greek community is dismayed to hear that the government plans to restore it as a mosque.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

12/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Turkey, Greek population, churches, mosques, Stoudios monastery

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There have been discussions that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be turned into into a mosque.

Many fear that the nation's Christian heritage will go the way of the Byzantine Stoudios monastery. Residing in the working-class, religiously mixed neighborhood of Samatya, the structure has been sadly neglected, becoming little more than weed-grown ruins.

The Stoudios monastery was at one time a pre-eminent Christian site. The Greek community is dismayed to hear that the government plans to restore it as a mosque.

Built just a couple of centuries after the Emperor Constantine rebuilt the ancient Greek city of Byzantium as Constantinople, the Stoudios monks were known for their religious poetry and their calligraphy. The monks produced beautifully illuminated manuscripts, some of which survive today.

The monastery at one time housed the Church of St. John the Baptist. Pillages by the Crusaders, and then the Turks left the monastery in ruins. Subsequent restorations were undone by two fires and an earthquake. Both the monastery and the Hagia Sophia were turned into museums in the 20th Century.

The Cabinet revoked the monastery's status as a museum last year, clearing the way for restoring it as a mosque, which the building had served for a period of time as well.

A restoration project is due to begin next year, when it will open to the public as a mosque, according to the government.

"The place is devastated - the dome has fallen in, it will need a lot of work," Adnan Ertem, head of Turkey's General Directorate of Foundations says. He adds that the site has historical importance for Turks as a mosque. Then he noted that, "Yes, it has an importance for Christians as well."

The announcement has come as a major disappointment to some. "I'm sorry to see the monastery come to public attention for this reason, because it's a very important place, both religiously and culturally," he says. "We were waiting for so long to hear that Stoudios might be restored, and now this," Mihail Vasiliadis says. Vasiliadis manages the Greek-language paper that serves what's left of Turkey's Greek population, which he says is probably fewer than 2,000 people these days.

Vasiliadis doesn't think the government, with roots in political Islam, is intent on reviving ill will toward religious minorities, something ethnic Greeks have a long and bitter history have here.

"So many cultural artifacts have been abandoned, and when they do restore things, they ignore Byzantine culture and focus on the last 500 years, the period of Muslim control," Vasiliadis says. "The abandoned places reflect the many cultures of Anatolia, but all this government cares about is consolidating the Muslim-led nation-state."

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2015
That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people.
Evangelization: That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim.


More Europe

Is ancient Greek tomb for Alexander the Great's friend Hephaestion? Debate continues Watch

Image of After his death in 325 B.C., Alexander the Great reportedly ordered that shrines be constructed throughout the empire. Hephaestion died less than a year before the Macedonian leader.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri declared that the mysterious Amphipolis monument is a tomb to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great's best friend who died less than a year before Alexander did.Fragmentary inscriptions link the monument to Hephaestion. Other archaeologists ... continue reading

10,000 copies of Germany's constitution was printed in Arabic to help nearly 800,000 migrants integrate Watch

Image of


Germany translated the first 20 articles of its constitution, which concerns basic rights such as freedom of speech, into Arabic for refugees to learn in an attempt to help immigrants integrate. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the moment, Germany struggles to ... continue reading

Segregation of Jewish and Muslim pupils in a French school echoes chilling Nazi segregation Watch

Image of


Jewish and Muslim students at the Piedallous primary school in Auxere, Burgundy were ordered to wear disks around their necks. The incident brought with it memories of Nazi segregation and caused an uproar. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Daily Mail ... continue reading

German refugee camps plagued with rape and child abuse Watch

Image of The European migrant crisis continues to grow. Rape and sexual abuse are already being reported inside German refugee camps.


Rape and sexual abuse is now becoming a major problem in several German refugee asylums as the country tries to cope with their migrant crisis. HOLLYWOOD, CA (Catholic Online) - Refugees are facing several problems inside overcrowded refugee centers across the country ... continue reading

OVERRUN AND OUT OF PATIENCE: Immigrants quickly wear out welcome in Germany Watch

Image of In Germany, there are a few terrorist agents mixed in with those who say they are fleeing the brutal persecution of Islamic State, when in fact they themselves are ISIS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Germany was lauded by the international community for taking in the large influx of immigrants feeling violence in Syria and Iraq. However . this generosity has a heavy price. Many of these so-called immigrants have left their native lands to make their ... continue reading

Expert confident forensic remains of fabled 'Mona Lisa' found Watch

Image of Most everyone is familiar with the image of a young woman with an enigmatic smile, her hands folded on her lap.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," perhaps the world's most famous painting, has cast a spell across the imagination. Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, is thought to have been the portrait's model. Bone fragments have ... continue reading

British mother of six brutally assaulted in acid attack Watch

Image of Thirty-seven-year-old Carla Whitlock says that she is still trying to come to terms with how her life has been changed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what is common in India - but most unusual in the United Kingdom, a 37-year-old mother of six is struggling to come to terms after suffering a vicious acid attack. Witnesses saw her face visibly melt, and doctors say she will probably lose the sight in one ... continue reading

EU holds summit to discuss migrant crisis Watch

Image of The migrant crisis has resulted in over 160,000 eligible refugees with no country to settle in.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

European Union leaders met in a summit Wednesday evening in Brussels to talk about reinforcing surveillance of the frontiers, particularly sea routes into Greece where hundreds of refugees die in the midst of attempts to reach Greek islands. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA ... continue reading

Majority of migrants entering Europe NOT Syrian refugees Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The migrant crisis hitting Europe has driven headlines over the past month, tugging at the heartstrings of people wanting to help desperate refugees running from a war-torn country. However, new reports from Europe show that "only one in five migrants claiming asylum" ... continue reading

Hungarian officials approved for weapon use against migrants Watch

Image of Hungarian officials can now use non-lethal weapons against migrants trying to illegally cross borders.


Hungarian parliament have granted police and the Hungarian army the power to keep migrants out of their country. Fears of Europe being overran by migrants continue to increase. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29
5 ¡Ánimo, pueblo mío, memorial de Israel ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:33-35, 36-37
33 For God listens to the poor, he has never scorned ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:17-24
17 The seventy-two came back rejoicing. 'Lord,' they ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Ewald & Ewald
October 3: Martyred Northumbrian brothers, one called "the Fair" and one ... Read More